He has played in eight different leagues across the world, faced the likes of AC Milan, gone without pay for almost 12 months and had injuries crush his English Premier League dream. Eddy Bosnar sits down with the PFA to discuss the ups and downs of his 13 years abroad.

Q. You left Australia to sign for Dinamo Zagreb when you were 20 what was that transition like?

EB. To be really honest, the first few months I wanted to go home. I used to speak to my father all the time, and back then there was no skype, so I think the phone bills were quite high and he used to say to me to ‘stick it out for six months and if you don’t like it come home but don’t make the mistake now.’

Q. What did you find most difficult at first?

EB. The hardest thing was when you come into a country like Croatia you are taking someone else’s position who has grown up in an environment where the country was very poor at the time because of the war and if you didn’t go to University the only way to do something was to be a sportsman or a footballer. That is why Croatia does have so many good sports people because they have no other option.

I was also still really soft. I was a kid and I was young and I was paranoid about the way I played, and you worry about so many little things. The change rooms can be a difficult place, there is a hierarchy with the older players running the place and if you don’t respect them there is no way that you are going to survive and I learnt that from day one when they said you have to listen to the older players otherwise you are not going to survive. So I used to keep quiet and do my work, you don’t want to be a yes man but you have to really respect them. If you play well they bring you in and you can do quite well.

Q. What changed to make you feel more comfortable?

EB. I started to play. Straight after the first training camp I played against AC Milan away, we then got knocked out by them and we went into the UEFA Cup and I started to get used to life in Zagreb. It’s hard to explain unless you lived it but being a first team player for Dinamo Zagreb is very special. I go back now and it is like I am still there playing. It was not fanatical then, now they have some problems, but it is a real honour to play for a club like Dinamo. If you had fighting qualities, which is the way I play, you would have a good relationship with the supporters.

Q. After just the one season at Dinamo you decided to move to Sturm Graz what was behind that decision?

EB.  At that time Dinamo was changing owners and the government was trying to give the club over to former players. Financially it was really bad, I had not been paid for a really long time, I think it was eight months to a year or something like that. So I was living off what my parents were sending me and I was living in Europe and playing UEFA Cup and Champions League qualifiers and I wasn’t getting paid.

So I had to go I had no choice, I wasn’t getting paid. If I look back now if I would have known I was going to make a career I probably would have stayed another year at Dinamo but I didn’t know that back then.

Q. You made over 50 appearances for the Austrian club was it a positive experience?

EB. I had a really good time in Austria. I played all the time and did well and managed to attract the attention of a club as big as Everton and then transferred there.

Q. How do you look back on your season at Everton?

EB. I was injured from day one and I could never get going. It was so hard. I played with some great players and meet some nice people. I signed the same time as Tim Cahill. I didn’t get a chance to prove what I could or couldn’t do but in the end I guess it was a good move but I was a bit unlucky but that is how football can go.

Q. Did those injuries have a long-term impact on you career?

EB. I didn’t play for over 18 months. I would play reserve team football every few months but I kept getting injured. I had a lot of injuries then I had a blood infection and I was really behind the eight ball and it becomes too hard to get back into it.

Mentally it was draining.  Maybe I took it too much to heart and I took it too personal and I think maybe that is one thing players should not do, especially when you are younger. You have to keep enjoying yourself because from day one you play because you enjoy it not because of the money.

Later on you start thinking about the money and the stuff that comes with it but at the start it is all about have fun and being happy and things will fall into place if they are meant to happen.

Q. You moved back to Dinamo was the focus to get back fit and healthy?

EB. The only thing to do was to go back to Dinamo Zagreb. They called my back and I went back there and it was good and I got back fit and get playing again. I then went to Holland, which was good. I was not there for a long time but it was a good opportunity to learn a few new things.

Q. After two season’s in Holland with Hercales Almelo you left Europe for Japan to sign with JEF United Chiba was it a difficult decision to leave Europe?

EB. It was the best move and decision I made. I was there before the 3+1 rule came in. I played regularly at JEF United then at Shimizu S-Pulse and most importantly I was fit and healthy and when you are healthy you can show what you can and can’t do.

Q. What was the adjustment to Asian football and life in Japan like?

EB. I didn’t realise what Japan was about at all until about a year after being there. The first year was just getting used to it and it was quite a hard transition.  I had my now wife with me and she moved there with me and she went to University in Japan. She had her things to do and I had my things to do and it worked out really well. Sometimes the actual partner if they are not busy and they are also a long way from home it can be hard. It is really important that they are happy otherwise it can become hard for you to focus on your job as you are worried about them. It can take its tool.

Football wise it was very professional, the supporters were great and the facilities were great and the players are really, really good and people don’t actually realise how much they analyse the game and that is where I started to realise how much analysis can go into it. They copy everything in Japan but they make it ten times better than the actual original. When they study and copy European football they bring in extra a dimension, which you didn’t realise actually exists and I learnt a lot.

Q. You would then go on to spend time in Korea with Suwon Bluewings and in China with Guangzhou R&F how would you describe your Asian adventure?

EB. It was brilliant and as I said it was the best decision I made. Life on and off the pitch was great.

Q. Having been overseas for 13 years was it difficult at times being away?

EB. You miss a lot of things. I missed my brothers wedding because of the Emperor’s Cup Final in Japan and they changed the wedding so it was between Christmas and New Years for me and I still couldn’t go to the wedding and that is really disappointing. Unfortunately football can be like that sometimes.

Q. You have been quoted as saying you are looking to make a return to Australia to play in the A-League why is now the right time?

EB. At my age as a centre back, with the way I have looked after myself, I think I could play a few more years and I think that now is the best time to come back.
I want to play well and do well for my club but hopefully I can help some young players develop and want to help give them pointers as I didn’t have that.

Q. Having played abroad for 13 years what is your advice to young players?

EB. The A-League is fantastic and if you’re not one of the best or better players in the A-league I don’t think you should go overseas if you want to have a long career. If you are not doing well here, you will find it very hard overseas. I think younger players should stay here unless they are going to a top club. To go play second division or lower league football I don’t think it’s in their best interest to leave the A-League.